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Launch a career managing development initiatives that address critical issues including poverty, disaster relief, education, and health.

Our Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Social Change is specifically designed to give you real-world experience before you graduate, culminating in a semesterlong practicum working for an organization like Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. State Department, a range of NGOs, and private companies.

Start Term




Fall or Spring 42 3 semesters

(12–16 months)
Monterey, California

Working Toward Social Good

Transform Your Career

Career and Academic Advising

Your career and academic advising are integrated, ensuring you align your coursework with your career goals. Our experienced advisors will guide you from course registration to preparing for interviews, negotiating your employment offers, and managing your career.

Alumni Network

Our large and influential alumni network in California, Washington, D.C., and other centers of local and global development is eager to help you prepare for your next steps. Our Middlebury in DC office provides the entire Middlebury community with a wealth of resources. Furthermore, our annual Career Exploration Week in the nation’s capital gives you facilitated and direct access to D.C.-based employers and our alumni who help us to plan the event. 


Our graduates are often hired before they complete their program, leveraging real-world projects from their classes, internships, and practica to showcase their relevant professional experience. They are thriving in careers at organizations like the United Nations, Catholic Relief Services, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office. 

Explore careers in public administration


Versatile Leadership

We prepare you for long-term professional success through courses in organizational and program management and leadership. You will develop a well-rounded set of competencies in finance, evaluation, data analysis, social change, and more. You will be prepared to lead and collaborate in project teams, specialized departments, or organizations that work for social change, including NGOs, governments, and UN agencies around the world. 

Local Meets Global

Your case studies, class projects, intercultural training, and language studies will enrich you with local, regional, and global contexts. You will learn to translate ambitious missions and goals into impactful social change programs by engaging in intimate discussions, hands-on projects, and fieldwork that may take you as far as Rwanda or as close as the challenges of central California.

Practical Experience

Your classes will often feature work with real clients, allowing you to develop practical skills before you graduate. The final semester practicum can be completed in person or remotely in the summer, spring, or fall semester. You can earn your degree in 12 consecutive months to accelerate your return to the workforce or in 16 months giving you the flexibility to gain more practical experience via summer internships.

Language Studies and Intercultural Competence

Bridging cultural and linguistic barriers is key to a successful career in policy and development, so you will take content courses in a second language and/or courses in intercultural competence.

Explore your curriculum

42 -credit master’s
12 -month option
16 -month option

Customize Your MPA in Social Change Degree

Our flexible curriculum means you can customize your degree:

  • Study a second language and/or intercultural competence.
  • Career-related electives
  • Optional specializations in financial crime management and other in-demand fields
  • Joint degrees: earn two master’s degrees in just four semesters. Options include MPA plus one of International Policy and Development or International Trade.
  • Online MPA in Sustainability: if you want to study online, apply to this part-time and asynchronous related program.
  • Peace Corps: Coverdell Fellows program for returned volunteers and an option to integrate Peace Corps service for potential volunteers.

Check out the program details for your options.

Faculty: Professors and Practitioners

While other graduate schools rely on teaching assistants, our students have direct access to our faculty, who combine academic expertise with years of professional experience in major international organizations, including UNCHR (the UN Refugee Agency), USAID, the World Bank, and the U.S. State Department.

Your professors are committed to your success and, together with your career and academic advisor, will become your mentors and colleagues throughout your career. 

Meet your faculty

Research and Practice

Build valuable professional experience while earning your degree through our research centers, labs, and initiatives:

Scholarships and Financial Aid

More than 95 percent of students who request scholarship consideration receive institutional support. You may receive merit, need-based, partner, and external scholarships and financial aid, which are available to both U.S. and international students.

Your personal enrollment advisor can help you think through financing this important investment in your career development.

Review tuition costs

How to Apply

We take a holistic approach when considering your application, looking at your academic background, international exposure, professional experience, and career goals. We welcome applicants with or without work experience, and our program has numerous opportunities for you to gain professional experience before you graduate. This approach aligns with the Institute’s core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We do not require GRE or GMAT scores for our master’s programs but competitive scores may strengthen your application and positively influence scholarship decisions.

Learn how to apply

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MPA Career Outcomes

Our graduates find rewarding careers in social change, disaster relief, and democratic governance organizations around the world.

Career Outcomes

employed or continuing education within one year of graduation
different employers of recent graduates
using a second language at work

How will you change the world?

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What makes us different?

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Next Application Deadline: August 15

Apply Now